COUNCIL DENIAL WON’T LOWER WATER COSTS FOR RESIDENTS
Member for Pine Rivers, Mr Seath Holswich, has called on Moreton Bay Regional Council to stop denying there is a problem with water debt and work with the State Government to fix the issue.
Mr Holswich, responding to comments from Councillor Mick Gillam in the Pine Rivers Press on 3rd July in which he claimed Seqwater debt was ‘manufactured’, and further comments from Council in today’s Pine Rivers Press, said while Seqwater sold bulk water at a loss (funded by debt) to Council-owned water companies like Unitywater, most council-owned water businesses made a profit.
“Rather than try to shift blame, Council should use some of the $77 million Council received from Unitywater last year to match the State Government’s $120 a year pensioner water rebate and provide relief for homeowners.”
Mr Holswich said the Newman Government had worked hard to reduce Labor’s bulk water price increases from $83 to $49 on a typical household water bill this financial year.
“The independent Queensland Competition Authority (QCA) found bulk water costs accounted for about 29% of a typical Unitywater household bill, while the other 71% of a homeowners water bill – including returns to its owners (Moreton Bay Regional Council being one owner) – was attributed to the council-owned water company,” Mr Holswich said.
Mr Holswich said Cr Gillam’s suggestion that Seqwater’s massive debt was manufactured was not supported by the facts.
According to the Seqwater’s 2012?13 Annual Report, the company’s assets were valued at $10.8 billion, while it owed $10.3 billion.
Mr Holswich recently held a Water Forum for residents and business owners in his electorate, where Minister McArdle addressed attendees and responded to questions about water bills. Council declined the invitation to attend the Forum.
“Whilst there is no easy fix, I’m prepared to tackle this important issue, listen to residents’ concerns and help them find answers.”
Mr Holswich is scheduling follow up meetings with various residents and business owners to discuss issues specific to individual situations. He has also offered to host a second forum, if Unitywater and Council are also willing to participate.
“This is an important issue that needs more attention from Council than simply blame-shifting and denial that a $10.3 billion debt is a real debt that needs to be repaid.”